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Unclear on the Concept

"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28 NLT

At some point in our lives, we've encountered a vague idea or concept. For whatever reason, we have trouble grasping what's being proposed. Often, to understand, we need to ask questions. Sometimes we may ask the same question several times until we comprehend.

The mother of James and John came to Jesus to ask a favor, "In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” There wasn't" anything wrong with her asking; she loved her two sons and believed in Jesus that he could grant her request. However, she didn't quite understand what it was she was asking.

Before this (v. 17-19), Jesus again predicts his death. In response, After her request, Jesus turned to the sons, asking them if they were willing to go the distance following him to the end. Though they responded with an enthusiastic "yes," we wonder whether they firmly grasped the meaning.

The Kingdom of Jesus was unlike any other; it was upside-down from the top-down Roman kingdom they understood. To be a leader, they first needed to be servants. While it was not uncommon for leaders to be executed for someone else to attain power (often by a relative), Jesus was a leader who willingly gave his life for us to have freedom.

We can appreciate the failure of James, John, and their mother to grasp the meaning of Christ's Kingdom fully. Though we have the benefit of knowing how Jesus' story ends in his death and begins with his resurrection, we still struggle to comprehend God'sJesus' faithfulness and unfailing love.

When we look around at the evil in the world, it's sometimes hard to imagine a Kingdom so dissimilar from our daily lives. But by faith in what Christ did for us, we have confidence in his Kingdom, and as servants, we spread the optimism found in the good news and work to improve it.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for your Kingdom unlike any other, one based on compassion, justice, love, and mercy. Yet, though we believe, we sometimes find it hard to comprehend your Kingdom as we look at the world around us. Renew our spirits, Lord, and help us see beyond what is to what can be, not just in heaven, but what can be on earth right now. Give us the courage to be good servants of transformation. In you mighty Son, Christ Jesus, we pray. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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